Johnson Matthey (JM) says its new battery materials facility in Konin, Poland has received a combined EUR135m (US$162m) investment from two development banks.

The joint financing comprises a EUR90m loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and a EUR45m loan from KfW IPEX-Bank.

JM’s Konin site will produce cathode materials for electric car batteries and will become the world’s first production site for eLNO, its portfolio of ultra-high energy density next generation cathode battery materials. These are expected to improve the performance of lithium ion batteries and help promote electric vehicle usage on a larger scale.

The production capacity in Konin will be 10,000 tonnes of eLNO per year, enough for around 100,000 fully electric vehicles. In addition, the site, which will start production in 2022, has the potential to expand tenfold through further investment. Construction of the plant started this year.

JM aims to make the manufacturing of its products energy efficient by using automation technology and electricity from renewable sources. The supplier has also committed itself to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

“We are very pleased to finance this landmark project, which marks a big step forward in making electric cars not only an environmentally friendly, but also an increasingly competitive and attractive, alternative to traditional vehicles,” said EBRD regional director Central Europe and head of Poland, Grzegorz Zielinski.

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“We also welcome the creation of new jobs and expect further positive impact from the know-how transfer associated with this important investment.”